Fluco baseball team rides a big first inning to beat Louisa

By Duncan Nixon

The Fluco baseball team upped its record to 3-2 on May 13 with a home victory over the previously undefeated Louisa Lions.

The first inning was all the Flucos needed for this win. Twelve Flucos came to the plate and seven runners scored, despite the fact that the Flucos only had three singles in the inning. Center fielder Mason Gross led off with a solid single to left. First baseman John Boy Rittenhouse worked a walk.  After a pop up, DH Brycen Baber was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Shortstop Joe Gomez singled to center for the first run of the game. Another out was followed by a defensive collapse by the Lions. On a soft grounder to third the throw to first went off the tip of the first baseman’s glove for a two-base error scoring two. Second baseman Aaron Brown then singled to center and the soft grounder to third play was repeated for another two-base error and two more runs. Gross stepped in for the second time and was hit by a pitch. Rittenhouse then walked again and the third out was finally achieved by the Lions, but the damage was extensive.

The Lions got three runs back in the top of the second on two singles, two walks and a Fluco error. With runners on second and third and two out, Gomez made the defensive play of the game, diving to field a hard hit ball up the middle and popping up, spinning and making a perfect throw to first to end the inning.

The Flucos batted nine in the bottom of the fourth and scored four, to up their lead to 11-3 and effectively put the game away. With one out Gross walked and Rittenhouse singled. Pierson Barnabei singled to score a run. Baber walked and Gomez hit a smash to third that the Lions’ third baseman could not handle. Mark Moore walked, and Tristen Chisholm grounded to short and beat the attempted double play throw to first. As a result, the first four batters in the Fluco line-up scored in the inning.

The Lions scored one in the fourth and two in the fifth with the help of some shaky defensive play by the Flucos, but the outcome was never in doubt. Lance Gowans pitched the first four innings for the Flucos and although he is a lefty and the Lions line-up was all right-handed batters, his sharp breaking curve had the Lions puzzled throughout. For the last three innings Coach Joel Gray went with fireballing right hander J. J. Glasscock. He struck out four and gave up only one hit.

This was a strange game, the Lions managed six singles and six runs, while the Flucos scored 11 runs with only seven singles. Seventeen runs were scored in the game and neither team managed an extra base hit.

Before the game, the Fluco athletic department held a ceremony to honor the Fluco 2019 team that won the state championship. As would be expected for a state champion team, that squad was polished and deeply talented. But, as they must, high school players move on. Coach Gray describes his current squad as “interesting.” He notes that he has four seniors who “have played a lot of baseball.” However, he also has some promising youngsters, like sophomores Gomez and Glasscock who he describes as “very hard working.”

On May 18, the Flucos hosted Albemarle high and on May 19 they will travel to Monticello high. They then play three in a row at home. On May 27 they host the Monticello Mustangs, followed by June 1 against the Charlottesville Black Knights and June 3 against Western Albemarle.

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